From My Lady Pokahontas, A True Relation Of Virginia. Writ by Anas Todkill, Puritan and Pilgrim, [in 1618] With Notes by John Esten Cooke: Boston, Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1907; pp. 94-149.
The Lord la
Ware. I go back in memory, and all these old times come to me, ever I think, “Thou didst set out, Anas, to discourse of the Lady Pokahontas only. Who art thou to write histories, whereof thy betters can scarce make aught but lying repertories nothing worth?”
So, soon, we will come back to that blessed damozel. But some strange things happed before, whereof I needs must write this brief relation, though some discredit that bloody marvel of which I was told. Was it the High Marshal Dale that did it, or some other? Whoever he be, he must answer before the judgment.
Now, not to tarry long or discourse of my Lord la Ware in Virginia. He was a brave and great lord, soft of heart, and did much for us. He stays from spring to spring only, and builds forts and feeds his people; but for more supplies sends
His brave at-
tendants. Sir George Somers, the old Admiral, in his cedar ship to the Bermudas, where is much fruit and other, with wild hogs left there by the Spaniard. So the Admiral sails forth to the Isle of Devils, not to return. When he comes there and loads his ship with pomegranates and such tropic stuff, he falls sick, when he entreats his men, like a valiant Captain, to be constant to their duty and go back to Virginia. Then he dies, but they, as men amazed, seeing the death of him who was the life of them all, embalmed his body and sailed for England. Sure that was a traitorous act, but they returned not to Virginia. The cedar ship, with his dead body, arrived at White Church, in Dorset, where by his friends he was buried, with volleys of shot and the rites of a soldier. So he ended, this brave Admiral, that saved us at Jamestown.
Now not much more of his great lordship, my Lord la Ware, who kept royal state. He would still go to church with his Lieutenant Governor and High Admiral and Master of the Horse and all his brave company, followed by fifty halberd-bearers in scarlet cloaks. There he sits himself in a velvet chair, with a silk cushion
talk of the
Flowers. to kneel on, after the vain Church of England fashion; and the church is fitted with cedar pews and a walnut table and font, and hath two bells at the west end; the whole some sixty feet long. I, Anas Todkill, would go oft, though my Puritan heart liked not all this mummery, least of all the flowers wherewith my Lord la Ware would deck his church. These papists’ abominations made my heart to burn; and oft looking at the walls, chancel, and pulpit nigh covered with red and white roses, I say to myself: —
“Away! thou relics of a vain worship! thou temptations of the Evil One!”
And what irketh me most of all is that these Church of England Virginians, or as the new term hath it Episcopalians, have nought to say against them. Even they love these snares of Satan, and one says, laughing, to me when I grumble: —
“Why not dress the church with flowers, Master Todkill? Sure ’t is innocent, sith God made them; and if the Good Book saith ‘all shall worship Him,’ why not the flowers?”
With which vain talk they would think to persuade Anas Todkill, a good Puritan, but cannot!97
Dale. When my Lord la Ware falls sick and goes to England in early summer, comes the High Marshal, Sir Thomas Dale, a stalwart ruler. Soon his heavy hand falls on the unruly gallants, who will not work, and play bowls in the grass-grown streets of Jamestown.*
He is the master of the gallants quick: they shall work, and not be fed like drones by the working bees. He is right in that, but soon the valiant High Marshal shows his claws in far other matters. He would have his way in all, and the old soldiers like not that. Brief, he brings from England his “Code Martial and Moral,” writ by Master Strachey, whereby he can do aught he will; and when this pleases few, and a company say this martial law is a thing unlawful, whereof I, Anas Todkill, was one, comes a fierce and bloody business. Jeffrey Abbot and other of Smith’s old soldiers are arrested, and the Marshal shoots most all, and tortures many.† Some
rous act. have awls thrust through their tongues, others are tied by the thumbs and hoisted from the floor, and one was broke on the wheel.
I who write saw not this, for it took place inside the Fort, whereof a guard at the door stopped all who would enter. But Jeffrey Abbot told me that Barebones Prym told him the Praise-the-Lord Wilkins told him that he heard ’t was done to one whose name was hid. This was the foul and unnatural way of it. The man was stretched on a frame, and four horses chained to his arms and legs, and men with whips ready. Would he confess and tell his accomplices? If he would, then his life should be spared; but he had nought to do with the business, he cried.
At that, one standing by crieth: —
“Whip! he shall tell!”
Whereon the horses are whipped up and his legs and arms are pulled and the bones crack. The man faints, but comes to, and is asked again if he will confess. He moans he cannot, having nought to tell. Then the voice cries once more: —
“Whip” the wretch shall own all!”99
Who told me
thereof.The horses start and drag him nigh asunder, and his leg-bones start out, with gushes of blood. The poor wretch crieth shrill, “Kill me!” but the blood in his throat stops him. Then the man standing by — I wot not who he was, I think not the Marshal — says to one: —
“Sith he would die, let it be so, as the law directs.”
And this one who is spoke to lifts a club wherewith he is furnished, and breaks the bones of the poor wretch on the frame; and, last, dashes his brains out and so ends him.
For this I vouch not, having not seen it; and scarce I think the valiant Marshal, who was stern but not pitiless, ever ordered it; natheless ’t is here related. Jeffrey Abbot, Smith’s old sergeant, a true man too, told me he heard it. Barebones Prym told him that Praise-the-Lord Wilkins told him that ’t was done, or another told him he heard ’t was done. If so be, the Lord doubtless will requite them that did it; for the right lieth in none to put men to death by so barbarous, unusual, and cruel punishment.‡ Natheless, for a last
sert. word, I cannot believe the Marshal ordered it; it may be ’t was done by Argall, that hawk-buccaneer who brought the ill news to Smith, and was now back in Virginia seeking something to pounce on. But I know not.
Now this same Argall is sent on a buccaneer business to kill innocent people before he seizes my Lady Pokahontas, as my relation will show. News comes to Jamestown that the French are settling on Virginia ground in Nova Scotia, at Mount Desert Island, and Dale sends Argall to rout ’em out. Which he does without word, shooting men and women down there at this Mount Desert, whereof I know not; and thence sails to the Hudson River and drags down the Dutch flag at Albany Fort and Manhattan Island in Virginia. So he comes back in triumph, this hawk and buccaneer, and next seizes my Lady Pokahontas and brings her to Jamestown.
* The writer fails to mention that Sir Thomas Gates, the Lieutenant Governor, had been sent to England, and that Percy, who was left in charge of the colony, could not rule the “gallants.” In writing many years afterwards these details may have escaped his memory.
† It is necessary in reading this account to remember that Todkill by his own confession was one of the conspirators, and that his statements are to be taken cautiously. The conspiracy probably aimed at much more serious ends than a simple protest against the enforcement of martial law. The deposition or death of Dale seems to have been contemplated by the leaders, though probably not by Todkill.
† There is no doubt that men were broken on the wheel at this period in Virginia. One account speaks of the “cruel, painful, and unusual” punishments inflicted; another states that the manner was one customary “in France;” and certain Virginia Burgesses of 1624 deposed that to their personal knowledge men had been put to death “by hanging, shooting, breaking on the wheel, and the like.”
more. treacherous betrayal, to call it by its right name, of my Lady Pokahontas, takes place in this wise. But first of the strangeness of my lady never visiting us again after Smith goes.
How she went away after that last leave-taking this true relation hath shown; and how I, Anas Todkill, saw her but once only thereafter, when again she saved my poor life. But never she comes to Jamestown any more now, and seemeth as one dead to us. In old days (as hath been told) she was ever in and out with her wild train (and baskets), but now no Pokahontas and no wild train; worse than all, no baskets! She cometh not, and, as we hear, is not now at Werowocomoco. Some say she and the Emperor have quarrelled; others that she hath made a princely progress for her divertisement to the country
by Japazaws. of Potowamak. Only, I find after this, from some broken words she herself speaketh, that she cannot bear the scenes where she and Smith were together, and goes away to dull her grief.*
What is most to us, she comes no more; and after a while the English think her to be dead; but sudden we hear of her and see her too, which happened as followeth.
This same Captain Argall, the hawk, going to the river Potowamak for corn, whereof he would fain bring back a ship full, is told by Japazaws, an Indian chief there, that the Lady Pokahontas is with him. Thereat Argall, much marvelling, and most to hear she is in hiding, as they said, bargains with Japazaws to buy her for a copper kettle, to which he agrees. Now see the treacherous falsehood of these savage people, who would betray their very guest even for what they covet, valuing like girls the giddy pleasure of the eyes beyond faith and honour. Japazaws his wife is foremost in this bad business, and wileth Pokahontas on board the ship, where there
a prisoner to
Jamestown. will be a fine banquet, she saith. So Pokahontas goes, and is betrayed to Argall; and for all her weeping and entreaties is carried back a prisoner to Jamestown; there to be held as a hostage for the good behaviour of her father the Emperor.
Never saw I so sad a face as when she landed from the ship and stepped into the Fort. She was ever looking around her at this and that she remembered, weeping the while; and, most, I could see her eyes bent on the casements of that room wherein Smith lay when he was ill. Her face streamed with tears, and great sobs shook her body; and I, gazing at her, was in amaze at her gracious beauty. She was now some eighteen years, and a full woman, though slight of stature. The maid had grown a princess, with great dark eyes, soft and clear, and a frame slim but round, and swaying as she walked on her small feet. She was wrapped in a feathered robe, and passed proudly through the throng scarce looking at any one. Sudden she catches sight of me and stops, and coming to me, takes my two hands, and breaks into weeping as her heart would break. Then she goes in the Fort; the gate is shut: and my little Lady is to be
say. held a prisoner till Powhatan send back some men and muskets taken from the Colony.
It would be long to relate how I came to be my lady’s henchman, going her errands and waiting on her, as a father waits on his child for loving her; so it happed. She had her room in the Fort, and an English maid, but ever when she would talk with any one she sent for Anas. Never was talk so sorrowful as mine with my Lady Pokahontas in these days. The bruit had come that Smith was dead, and when she hears it, a great sob shakes her, and she bends down moaning most like a poor bird that is shot and bleeding. How and where had he died? but we know nothing. In a sea-fight off the Azores, some said, and some another story. But none denied he was gone, and his old soldiers wept for him; I more than all, remembering that true-hearted soldier who had been so dearly beloved of me. So we cried together like children, — poor Anas Todkill and the little princess. She talked long of the young soldier, and had a legion of old stories of him. But ever she fell again to weeping, and saying in a low voice as before, when she took leave of him, “God!
for the old
love. God!” whereby I knew she was still a Christian and faithful to her vows.
The time passed, and at length this first outburst of a heavy heart gave way to quiet. She wept no more, as the days went on, but would move about softly, thinking and sometimes talking lowly to herself. When she passed me at such times, she would raise her head and smile pitifully, and lay her little hand on my doublet and say, “Good Anas!” which pleased me much. They let her go out of the Fort whither she would, so she went not away; and one day I followed her and saw her stand on the shore, at nigh sunset, where Smith had been standing when she stole up behind him. When she came back to the Fort she was weeping.
But time is a hard enemy, and the grave an ill remembrancer. Oh, lamentable! we pass away, and those we best loved turn otherwhere. Is it God’s great mercy that sends this oblivion to his poor creatures? Certes it must be so, since all human things flow from Him. So my lady grows quiet and her sorrow settles down in her heart, I think. She even laughs a little at times, and being a girl, which is a thoughtless creature, takes part in the games of
love comes. the young men and maids, whereof there are plenty now. The youths (and the older men for that) would much affect her company, for she had a fine mirth and an extraordinary sweet smile, with a love of what was humourous that made her wondrous pleasant.
So my little lady laughed, and, as the wont of her vain sex is, looked at the gallants with side glances out of the corners of her black eyes. But ever under this fooling was plain to me the old, settled sorrow, and the mourning deep down in her heart for the soldier she ad loved, and who had loved her, and was dead now. Master Shakespeare (I thought) writes
* This passage clears up an obscure point. Raphe Hamor says, that “the Nonparella of Virginia,” as he calls Pokahontas, made “a princely progress,” to see her people on the Potomac; and another writer describes her as residing there and “thinking herself unknown.”
Lady to go on with this true relation, and tell what in due time followed. My Lady Pokahontas (as I still would call her) had much converse on holy things with the valiant and religious High Marshal, Sir Thomas Dale, Governor General; and but for being converted, he would certes have converted her. For the gaining of that one soul (he said), he would think his time and toil in Virginia well spent;* but this relation showeth that ere now she was a Christian.
Natheless she was young and mirthful, and affected company, and others affected her. Now among them was a worthy gentleman, some thirty, Master John Rolfe. For all his youth he was a grave, staid man, much given to religious exercises, and I first surmised his thought as to Pokahontas by his making friends with me.
I talk with
him. He would still salute me as he passed into the Fort with a bow, and “A pleasant morn, Master Todkill,” or “Give you good-day, friend.” Thereat I marvelled and was pleased, for Master Rolfe was high in the Governor’s graces; but one day when we were alone together, I came to know his mind, and why he thus affected me.
“You were one of Captain Smith’s old soldiers, were you not, Master Todkill?” he asked of me. Whereupon I answered Yes, for I had fought under him against the Turk.
“And in Virginia also,” he goes on in his grave, friendly voice. “I know the true story of old times here, and what manner of man Smith was. He is dead now, God rest him; but we build on his foundation.”
At this my heart warmed, and I spoke to Master Rolfe of the old days, giving my dear and noble Captain the character was his due.
“A mighty soldier, and dwarfs us all,” answered Master Rolfe. “My own life, I think, is nothing beside his with his brave adventures and great deeds.”
Thereat, musing, he speaks of himself and says: —109
He talks of
death.“I was married early in England, Master Todkill, and brought my young wife in the fleet under the good Admiral Somers, seeking Virginia. But God would not have it that she should ever see this virgin land. We were on board the Sea-Venture, and that was wrecked on the Bermudas. There my wife died, after giving birth to her babe, a girl. I called the little cherub sent me, Bermuda, after the islands, but she died too, and both rest there, and I am alone, Master Todkill.”
This moved me much, and the talk there ended; but soon I saw that this so great wound in the heart of Master Rolfe was well-nigh healed, for he had begun to love my little Lady Pokahontas. Thereat my heart burned within me. Did my Lady Pokahontas love him? That were piteous, after Smith; and a great anger suddenly seizes me, most at this Master Rolfe, who would steal from my dear Captain this heart that belonged to him. Even now was this bruit true that Smith was dead? (I said this to myself,) and was Master Rolfe the one who had got it believed in the Colony?
So the next time he meets me and would talk of my Lady, I greet him but
The strife in
his thoughts. coldly, and am silent. Thereat he looks strangely at me, as though in sudden pain, and heaves a great sigh.
“You would hold no speech with me, then, worthy Master Todkill?” he says lowly. “I know your thought. That great soldier was your friend and loved this maid; therefore you would not have her love me, or I her, I see. Certes ’t is a great sin; I grant you that; but not to your sometime Captain. He is dead, they say; think you he is not?”
“The bruit saith so,” I answer short, “but I know not whence it comes or who hath spread it.”
“Not I!” cries Master Rolfe. “Would to God that true soldier were alive for the honour of England!”
“Say you so?” I answered; “are you honest?”
“I swear I am honest, Master Todkill. I think him verily to be dead in a combat off the Azores, and ’t is no sin in me to love her.”
“And yet you said ’t was a great sin.”
“Certes, in that the Scripture forbids a Christian man to marry a strange woman.”
Then sudden I see his mind, and being
He sees my
Lady in his
sleep. a Puritan, and not a mere court ruffler, think well of this man whose conscience hurts him in such a matter.
“Say you that?” I answer. “You love her, and yet hold back?”
Thereat his face colours up, and he says in a loud voice, careless who hears him from the Fort, —
“Love her? God knoweth I love her with my heart and soul! Scarce I sleep for thinking of her, and yet I know not if she thinketh of me, nor if I would have her think of me.”
I listen, but say nothing, looking intent at his face.
“This gracious creature,” he saith at length, “hath made a mighty war in my meditations. Long I have struggled, Master Todkill, remembering the displeasure God conceived against the sons of Levi and Israel for marrying strange wives. Doubtless, I said, this is the enemy that seeketh man’s destruction, and so rested. But then when I had obtained my peace, behold another gracious tentation hath made a breach in my meditations. I see her in my sleep, and awake to astonishment. I am pulled here and there, as it were, and a voice crieth, ‘Why do not thou
her. marry her and endeavour to make her a Christian?’ ”
“Know you not she is such now?” I say.
“Yes, Master Todkill; my poor speech wanders; I would confirm her in such holy thoughts, for God’s honour and the good of the Colony.”
Such honesty spoke in his voice that I, looking at him, grew not so cold to him. This he doubtless sees, and says in earnest words: —
“Certes the vulgar sort, who square all men’s actions by their own evil thoughts, will jeer at me, Master Todkill, and say I am only moved by carnal longing; but God, who seeth me, knoweth otherwise. I would marry this gracious maiden for his glory and the good of his people. I have made all known to Him in my daily, yea hourly, prayers and meditations; and sure I think He doth approve it. Think what good will surely come! Think how beautiful is the soul of this creature Pokahontas; of her desire to be taught and instructed in the knowledge of God; her capableness of understanding; her aptness and willingness to receive any good impression; and I deny not besides this spiritual,
His trouble. her own incitements stirring me up hereunto!”†
He stops all in a tremble, and saith: —
“What I do is for God’s glory, as God seeth me!”
We had walked to the river shore, and the tide coming in lapped on the bank, as that day when Smith was looking, and my Lady stole to him.
For all the voice of Master Rolfe was honest and full of a strange trouble, I still was obstinate and could not bring me to believe in him.
“Sure what you say is worthy of a true man and a Christian,” I say; “but natheless in such things there is more: the consent of the maiden. Howe’er a man’s thought be torn whether or no he will wed such an one, there remains to know this: whether such an one will wed him.”
Thereat his head drooped down. He studied for a time, and answered: —
“I know not. I scarce dare hope that, after Smith, she will cast eyes on me. But think, Master Todkill; he is dead, as I verily believe; and what better can the gracious creature do than bethink her that
He will ask
counsel. one loves her that still liveth and will cherish her?”
That was hard to gainsay, and Master Rolfe had hit it. Doubtless many bleeding hearts have had this to choose: whether the past time shall be buried and the old love forgot, or not, for a new love that offereth. But I could not bear to think of it, that my dear Captain should be thus forgotten.
“What shall I do, Master Todkill?” Master Rolfe saith sudden; but I shake my head.
“I know not; seek other to advise you, Master Rolfe,” I answer.
Thereat he heaves another sigh and says: —
“Yes; I will tell all in a letter to my worthy friend, Sir Thomas Dale. He is a valiant and religious man, well instructed in divinity, which be rare in a martial man.‡ He shall decide.”
Wherewith we go back silent, with the waves still lapping, to the Fort.
* Sir Thomas Dale makes this declaration in a letter to a friend in London.
† What Rolfe said in this interview is identical with what he wrote in the letter spoken of by Todkill a little further on.
† Rolfe here borrows an expression which he had no doubt heard employed by the Rev. Alexander Whitaker, Minister of the Varina parish, and called the “Apostle of Virginia.” He uses it in a letter to a friend in London.
ter. Master Rolfe writes that letter in which he would ask Sir Thomas his consent. I know this from accident. Chancing to pass him while he is walking by the palisade with Master Raphe Hamor, Secretary of the Colony, I must needs overhear him (though I would not) say these words: —
“’T is written, friend Raphe; I ask him what shall I do? My whole heart is therein, and thou shalt give it him, when thou wilt.”
With that he holds out a letter and Master Hamor takes it, smiling, and they pass. The opportunity to deliver the letter came soon, and I was witness of all; but first some words of my dear Lady Pokahontas. It was ill for me bring wroth with her, since only my own misery followed. And there was nought really to make me
falters. so. Sure not the least thing was to her dishonour. This noble princess was yet faithful to one that had loved her, though he were dead. The old wound was yet sore and would not heal up in that time.
But, welladay! ever the time went on; and the spring ripened to summer; and then the summer to what in this land we call, after Indian fashion, the Leaf-Fall; and ever with the passing days the heart of my Lady taketh more ease, and her face smiles with a brighter light in it. But when some one let fall his name, sudden tears would come and she would go away sorrowful by herself; and ever when she comes back she lays her hand softly on me, looking me in the face as though to say, “We remember, Anas.”
At such times comes Master Rolfe and sits beside her and talks to her, though she seems not willing. Long before this she was mistress of English, and spoke it freely, in her old lisping voice, very low, but exceeding sweet. And ever as she lisped out her words, I could see the face of Master Rolfe flush up as he listened to her. Would she ever love him, and what good would come of that letter to Sir Thomas? (I said.) ’T were a brave jest
Her faith is
unfaith. indeed to know if he should marry a maid who would not!* Whether his wooing prospered I could not tell from looking at my little Lady. Certes she would smile on him at times, but the smile was sorrowful; and if she bent her head sidewise, looking at him over her shoulder, after the wicked wont of maids, soon she looked down and sighed grievously, doubtless remembering.
Sooth to say, Master Rolfe was not so strange to love her. Se was now clad like an English woman, in some clothes they had given her, and would deck herself carefully in ruff and stomacher, and spend much time on her hair at back of her head, seeking to make it curl, and put in a cushion, after the fashion of the time. On her feet were Spanish shoes of green morocco, with high red heels, showing her wondrous small feet, with clocked stockings on the ankles. Her round arms were ever naked, with coral bracelets on her wrists; and as she moved, the slim figure of the maid was like a willow-tree, such as groweth on the Virginia rivers. Sure ’t was a beauteous vision, with the brown face bent forward, and a smile on
yields. the lips and in the eyes; and looking at her, Master Rolfe would heave a piteous sigh, whereat she must needs laugh.
But a man’s true love for a woman is strong. Much as my little Lady would laugh, I could at length see she was giving way. They often walked to the shore together and came back with heads bent down; and now, I think, she did not so much affect my company as before. Often she would look at me in a sad, doubtful way, as though to say, “An I were to, Anas?” But never had she speech with me save on other things; never on this one.
So the winter passed away, and the spring was near, and then I came to know what would be. One day toward April I was wandering in the woods, when the sound of voices comes to me from a path through the thicket, and these two, my Lady and Master Rolfe, pass near me. Her head is leaned down and her face is red with blushes; and Master Rolfe is taking to her low and earnest as they go by. He stops speaking as they come near, and for a little time she makes no answer. Then I hear only these words from her, like the whisper of the south wind in the leaves, “Do you really?”119
is forgot.They passed on, thereupon, but I could see Master Rolfe take her hand that was hanging down at her side and press it in both his, and kiss it. Would she take it away? I waited, with my heart beating. She let him hold it in his own, and looked up over her shoulder into his eyes that were fixed on her.
Then I knew that my dear Captain was forgot at last.
* Todkill’s meaning here seems to be that it was rather comic for Rolfe to have scruples as to marrying one who would not marry him.
hath a quiet
now. comes to my poor heart a great throbbing as I go back to the Fort. This was the end; my little Lady had forgot her Captain. I would scarce go near her, and she understands that, for she looks at me with such tears as her heart would break; and for nigh a week would scarce speak so much as a word to Master Rolfe.
But maidens are ever changeful. ’Tis at most an April day with such. The rain goes, and the shine comes back after the shower, and they are brighter than before. Soon poor Anas is clean forgot, and when they encounter, my little Lady seems ashamed to meet his eyes.
Now to tell what followed. Had Master Rolfe determined in his mind that his conscience should be quiet as to marrying strange wives? Once he saith it is against
fair Satan. Scripture, and sure this Lady Pokahontas belonged to a cursed generation. Now the generation appeareth not so cursed, rather blessed, and to be gladly wed with! Where be now the perturbations of his distracted soul (as he saith), and those same snares of the Evil One set in the black eyes of the maid? When he dreameth of her (if one would hear him), he starts from sleep and cries, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” But natheless he would embrace this fair Satan, and make her his Devil’s-helpmate! and the witch herself is willing, and will have Master Rolfe to husband.
All growling, you will say, of poor Anas Todkill at his Captain’s being so soon forgot, and at him who supplants him: this Master Rolfe, who would not wed with strange wives, but hath got the better of that, and remembers that they that turn souls to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever! (Natheless this one was turned already, and needed him not.) Again thou growlest, Anas! So be it; men will growl considering love’s wiling, and the doings of these farthingales who make us love ’em. Not that my little Lady did not yet love the soldier she had loved so in old days. She loved him deep in her heart of hearts,
goes to the
York. far more, I think, than this new love. But the old lover was dead, you see, and Master Rolfe pressed strong. He had friends, too, that spoke for him: Master Strachey, he that writ the “True Repertory of the Wrack and Redemption of the Sea-Venture,” a civil-spoken gentleman; and also Master Raphe Hamor, who took the letter for Sir Thomas Dale, to ask his counsel.
Now I will relate how this letter was delivered and what strange matter followeth.
To go back: when Powhatan hears his daughter is taken a prisoner and carried to Jamestown he is bitter offended, and keepeth silence; when messengers go to him from Sir Thomas and say the Lady Pokahontas shall be sent back when certain Englishmen, who are captives, with their muskets, are given up to us, Powhatan will not, and still keeps quiet. Thereon Sir Thomas bethinks him he will go and take ’em, and in the March days of this year 1613 sails with picked men in a ship by Point Comfort into York River, and so to Werowocomoco. He takes my Lady Pokahontas with him, and in the ship goeth also Master John Rolfe, who is a worshipful gentleman and high in his honour’s favour. My lady is sad and smiling
We land at
Machot. by turns on the way, Sir Thomas his intent being to surrender her when the arms are brought with the English prisoners by Powhatan.
At Werowocomoco was no Powhatan, but a great multitude of Indians on the bank of the river, who jeered loud as we came near shore, and with scornful bravado affronted us, demanding, “Why come you hither? You are welcome if you come to fight; we will use you as we used Captain Ratcliffe.” Then they let fly their arrows, at which we manned boats and went ashore. There we burned all their houses and spoiled all they had; and going to ship again sailed up the river.
Now to tell what next happed, and how the mind of my little Lady was at last known to all. We got to Machot, Opechancanough’s capital city, where the York River divedeth,* and went shore in a great crowd, sending to Powhatan who was in the woods, to tell our minds. We had brought Pokahontas, and would deliver her whenas the arms were brought; and Master John Rolfe and one more were sent on this errand. They went with guides to the
meanour. Emperor’s woods palace, but he not choosing to see them (of his grim humour) sent back a vain message as all would be well; but no further.
At this Sir Thomas Dale concludes the Emperor but trifles with him, and is about giving orders to lay waste all houses and boats and the very fish weirs, when sudden happens what stops all. To make this plain: my Lady Pokahontas, in a brave gown, and looking very proud, had come ashore with the rest. Scarce she spoke to any of her people, only to say to the better sort with a proud and hurt voice: —
“If my father loved me he would not value me less than old swords, pieces, or axes; so I will still dwell with the Englishmen, who love me.”
Thereat she turned her head a little and looked at Master Rolfe, who smiled as approving, and signed with his hand to her, and to Master Raphe Hamor, who was standing near. Then I see this Master Hamor go to Sir Thomas and give him a letter, and I know in my heart it is Master Rolfe’s letter about the marriage, asking Sir Thomas his consent, and what ought he to do. When Sir Thomas Dale opens the folds of paper he looketh a little
The letter. puzzled at first; then he turns to the end to see by whom ’t is writ. Seeing there, doubtless, Master Rolfe’s name, he looketh toward him, but he is in some confusion; and chancing to behold the Lady Pokahontas at this same minute, I see she is blushing red and hanging down her head.
Sir Thomas goes back and peruses the letter with a grave look: but soon his face lights up and, holding back his head with his beard in the air, he laughs loud.
“Ho, ho!” he says, turning to Master Rolfe; “thou art a sly one! What is this? never you said a word of it, though we were oft together, Master Rolfe.”
“I durst not,” says Rolfe all of a tremble. “I feared thou wouldst say nay, good Sir Thomas.”
“So you held all back!”
“Yea, Sir Thomas, till this moment. But now you needs must know, since you would burn all, and destroy these poor people that are” —
“Madame Rolfe’s kindred!” cries Sir Thomas, laughing loud and looking from him to Pokahontas. Thereat she blushes, but suddenly starts and goes forward very quick. Her brother Nantaquaus pushes
Nantaquaus. through the crowd and catches her close to his breast and kisses her. Never saw I faces shine so, and they babble and kiss and she tells him all; for a great wonder comes to his face, the comeliest I ever saw in a savage.
“Would you? would you?” he says, having a few English words. Whereto Pokahontas laughs, and says: —
“Yes, I would, Nantaquaus!”
And she laughs and cries, and hugs him close; and Sir Thomas Dale comes and laughs too. All is peace now, he says.
“Since we English and the red beauties will get to marrying,” so saith Sir Thomas, “there need be no more war, but blessed peace. Know you what is writ in this letter, my Lady Princess? I see thou dost, by thy roses. Master Rolfe would marry thee — hath doubtless read thee this billet-doux.”
Thereat Pokahontas hangs down her head and her bosom heaveth.
“But his Majesty King James! What will his Majesty say? Master Rolfe is but a private gentleman, and he would wed a princess. That were lesé majesté, I much fear, and his Majesty will grow irate.† But
jest. natheless thou shalt marry, poor young people! I will not say thee nay.”
Thereat Master Rolfe clasps his hand and cries: —
“Thou art my best friend, Sir Thomas!”
He pumps with Sir Thomas his arm, but the Marshal sudden looks grave, — though I see a wicked smile under it.
“There be but one only hindrance, but that is mighty, Master Rolfe.”
“What be that hindrance, Sir Thomas?” saith Master Rolfe quaking.
“The Scripture forbiddeth marrying strange wives; remember the displeasure the Almighty conceived against the sons of Levi and Israel!”
Thereat Rolfe looks confused and stammers; —
“Whereof thy dreams did warn thee, good Master Rolfe!” continues Sir Thomas laughing sudden. “Remember thy perturbations and the troubles of thy distracted soul! Hath the trouble clean gone now?”
I, Anas Todkill, hearing these words, could have gladly caught the Marshal to my breast and cried, “Thanks!” But the laughter endeth, for Master Rolfe would,
Peace now. it seemeth, sink in the ground; and Sir Thomas saith: —
“I did but jest. Why should not you and the Lady Pokahontas marry? Yea, you shall, and have a brave wedding.”
He turns to my Lady then and says with the bow of a courtier: —
“I will not give you for the men and old muskets now, my little Lady!”
This endeth the talk with them, and Sir Thomas goes apart with Opechancanough (sith the Emperor Powhatan is afraid to come to the English, or will not), and they make terms of peace. The men and pieces shall be brought now and given unto the English; and Sir Thomas will not fulfill his intent to destroy the heathen. Rather he will be close friends with them, since now one of his gentlemen will wed with their princess.
Thus all is soon agreed, and for proof of friendship the ship is loaded with corn; and in two hours the prisoned English are brought and the pieces with ’em, Then my lady puts her arms round Nantaquaus, blushing much the while, and whispers something in his ear, which I know afterwards is this: —
“Thou shalt tell the Emperor, brother
And so to
Jamestown. Nantaquaus, and say his wanton would have him willing she should marry this English werowance. Thou wilt come to the church; it will be fair with flowers; and tell my sisters Cleopatre and Matachanna to come too, for maids to the bride, — who will be I.”
Thereat she laughs and cries, kissing him, and goes on the ship; and Sir Thomas, firing culverins to show the peace made, sails down York River and so comes again to Jamestown.
Now not to tarry longer here, see how this angel made peace between the English and her own people. She that had saved us now saved them in their time of need. For Sir Thomas had surely ground them between the upper and the nether mill-stone, but for the knowledge that Master Rolfe would wed her and they all would live at peace.
So this angel (God forgive thee, Anas!) was once more the guardian angel of the white and red people in this land of Virginia.‡
* The present West Point, at the confluence of he Pamunkey and Mattapony.
† It is known that his Majesty King James I. did “grow irate.”
† Todkill’s relation of these incidents exactly agrees with that of Raphe Hamor in his True Discourse of Virginia. This rare pamphlet also contains Rolfe’s letter, a most curious production, and a letter written to London by Sir Thomas Dale precisely corroborating Todkill’s narrative.
ries. my little Lady would no longer speak to me. Sith she hath forgot (I say) him who loved her so dearly, and taken up with this new gallant, even let her go, and the Divell go with her (God forgive thee, Anas!)
But I was wroth, and a man when wroth will foul his lips and his mind, that is worse, with these abominations. Try as I would, I could not forego the memory how they walked together in the old days and how she looked at him. Ever she would pluck the wild wood flowers for her hair, and put them therein, and then take them forth and hold ’em out to him, and say in her little lisping tongue, “For thee that art the flower of gentilesse and honour!” And now these same flowers were for another love; and this other were the bright, blooming exemplar! Brief, she who had
My Lady is
baptized. forgot the man I loved so should be forgot by me. So I would not go nigh nor speak to her.
Did she care for that? I knew not, but many things distracted her thoughts and time at this season. Sir Thomas Dale, the valiant and religious High Marshal, was ever with her. For this soldier was a man of great knowledge in divinity and of a good conscience; and would still instruct my Lady Pokahontas in the knowledge of our Blessed Saviour.
Now the time comes for her baptism, and good Master Whitaker performeth it, sprinkling water on her from the fount in the church, where attendeth a great multitude. She is new named Rebecca; for what saith Holy Writ, “And the Lord said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels,” and further declareth the holy record, Rebekah did conceive twins “and the first came out red.” So she that was to marry an Englishman, being herself one of a strange people, was to be called Rebecca, since she would be mother of two nations.
This done, my Lady and her maidens go to their vain work of making clothes, and
of tongues. what not, for the day when she would wed. Oft I go by the window and see ’em sitting within and gabbling, now this, now that; would this ruffle look best, or this ribband, what think you? Jibber-jabber, click-clack! — never was such clatter of tongues! For these farthingales must talk; else for want of it they die (I think). And they talk so they deafen me, and I go by quick not to hear ’em. Not my Lady; she talks but little, and seemeth to care nought for all the finery. Her face is sorrowful, and oft she sitteth with her needle in her hand, looking far away, as one that listens to other things than click-clack. But I go not near her and she cometh not near me, seeming to shun me as I would her.
So passeth the April days, and the flowers are blossoming now, and I think, she will have some to deck the church the day she marrieth. ’T will be, sure, a merry wedding! All look to it as a joyous festival wherein two hearts will be joined together in holy matrimony, and so be one, — till they get to scratching! One only seemeth not to look forward thus, a certain sour Anas Todkill. Now and again when he meeteth Master Rolfe he can do no less than scowl at him; and when this same
I take my
a ghost. Master Rolfe goeth to visit the Lady Pokahontas, and I see her blush and look at him softly (through the window which they had best shut), I go off growling.
So as the day is near I take a fancy, I know not how, and one day set out and come to the Place of Retreat on Ware Ridge, where I went with my Captain that day. It is near evening when I get there through the spring woods, and I go up the steep path near overgrown with laurel bushes till I reach the ruinous Fort, whereon the slant sun is now shining. Why I come hither, I say, I know not; for want of other to do, it may be, and to see if I cannot once more catch sight here of him who is here no longer now, being a dead man.
Instead of Smith I see one other, my Lady Pokahontas. She is seated on the very brown stone where she sat by Smith, and crying.
I stop in the edge of the laurel thicket, thinking I see a spirit. Sure the Lady Pokahontas is yonder at Jamestown, in the midst of the click-clack (I say with a shuddering voice), and this is her ghost. But the ghost looks up at the sound of crackling twigs and would fly, but sudden stops.134
chidings.“Oh, Anas! Is it thou?” she cries. “What brought thee hither?”
With which she covers her face with both hands and begins to weep. I look at her for a time, feeling a great war in my thoughts; but she continueth to sob, and that sound smites me with a great pity, and compassion, and love, so that I haste to her and draw away her hands.
“Let me! let me!” she faltereth. “It is for him that is dead! He was here, thou dost remember. Would I too were dead!”
Could I scoff? Anas Todkill had nevermore thought well of himself had he done so.
“Quiet thee,” I say low; “I remember well, and thou too dost remember!”
“Can I forget him?” she says. And then bursts forth all about him, and how she loved him more than all the word; and last, would not marry Master Rolfe, no she would never!
Then cometh a hard thing for Anas Todkill to do. Was I to commend her for this, or say, No, thou must not break faith? Sure this were a vile sin now to counsel this poor maid to show faith by unfaith; and, remaining faithful to the dead, be
She will not
and yet she
will. faithless by breaking faith with the living. This comes in my mind, and I say, Steady Anas! Then to her: —
“Thou must marry Master Rolfe,” I say, with a throb at the heart.
Thereat she looketh at me quick and saith: —
“I will not! Must I? No, never! How could I? And yet — yea, I should break faith.”
“Thou must keep thy faith,” I say, “whatever betide; it is I that counsel thee.”
“Dost thou?” she says weeping; “must I?”
“Yes, thou must.”
“Why look at me as thou hast looked of late, then?” (There was a shot for thee, Anas!) “But now thou art my truest friend. See, I listen; must I?”
“We will talk of that,” I say as we go back. “How didst thou come hither?”
I take my Lady’s hand and draw her from the place, for the sun is now near setting; she telling me ’t is but a little way for a wildwood maid like herself, and she stole off and came alone.
So we go back through the sunset and the night to Jamestown, whereof we see
My promise. the lights shining now through the woods and on the water.
“Must I?” she says a last time, stopping ere she reach the Fort.
“Yes,” I say.
“And thou — wilt thou still speak to me, and love me, and live with me, nay in my very house? Promise, Anas! then I will obey thee.”
She holds my hand and looks in my face, smiling through tears, and I bend down and kiss the little brown hand.
“I will live with thee and be thy henchman till I die,” I say. “It is little to prom-
ding. the wedding of Master Rolfe and the Lady Pokahontas is over quick. It takes place in the church at Jamestown two days after this talk in the woods of Ware.
Never saw I a gayer sight. The cedar pews were wreathed with flowers, for this Virginia land hath divers in April, — what we call the old field daisy and other. Sure the flowers were sweet and heartsome, though I approve not this vain popish fashion of decking the sanctuary with such; and a great crowd filled the church, (whereof the bells in the west tower were ringing), pushing into the cedar pews quite up to the chancel and walnut communion table. I well remember me the strange sight of buff jerkins and gold-laced doublets rubbing dusky, naked shoulders of Indian chiefs, with feathers on heads, bow in hand. Many heathen had come to see their Lady Pokahontas wed the white face;
laugh. and the bride marches up the aisle with Master Rolfe and her old uncle Opachisco, a conjurer with a wondrous wrinkled face, and behind these advanceth, with his head up like a young deer of the forest, the lady’s best beloved brother Nantaquaus.
My Lady Pokahontas weareth a white robe with down thereon, and a long white veil falling on her shoulders. Her face of light brown, most like a Spanish maiden’s, was all tears and blushes; and for all the gay scene there was a hid sorrow in her eyes. So Master Rolfe, with some show of bravery in his grave apparel, takes his place on her right hand; and you may see from his face that all his passion of doubt hath left him! that he thinketh no more of the sin of marrying strange wives; but is blithe and glad now. He was near laughing, I think, for joy; and sudden a great loud laugh greeteth what happens in the church.
Good Master Whitaker, of the Rock Hall parish at Varina, performeth the ceremony, in his surplice and bands, with reverent face above; and when he says Who giveth this woman? sudden wrinkled old Opachisco shoves the bride forward so she near falls on the chancel, and says somewhat
ended. in his outlandish tongue; whereat all burst out laughing.
So the two are man and wife, and Nantaquaus comes up and puts both his arms round my Lady and she around him, and they mouth and babble, and I see more tears in her eyes. Then the bells ring once more, and the people talk and shake hands and go about their business.
Of that day I recall no more, being in no good humour, and soon home, till evening when something happens.
I go out in a boat on the James River as though to fish, but in sooth to be by myself and think of this wondrous business. I stay there till nigh sunset, when I paddle in, and coming round a bend of trees, sudden I see my Lady, leaning against that tree Smith leaned on that day when I saw them together.
She is lying against it and weeping, with her robe over her face. She seeth me not and I would not have her; so I come ashore and tie my boat and go back soft to the palisade, thinking my thoughts.
love. see how this strange business cometh to an end at last. She who marries one is yet in love with another, who is dead, or thought to be, which were the same. Women (and men too) will still do that, and sure I think Master Will Shakespeare might have writ a drama on this theme. He writ his “Tempest” instead, which is sure a wondrous picture; but this were greater. For (once more) she that thus marrieth one, loveth another with all her heart; only she consoleth herself by saying low, “My true love is dead.”
Natheless fate is strong and the years be hard masters. He that is dead, though he be not forgot, is no longer here; so my Lady goeth weeping to her bridal and is now Mistress Rolfe.
I say not she continueth to weep. She is young yet; and that blessed youth is like the sap of a tree which will push strong to
The City of
Henricus. cover up a gash in the trunk, be it never so deep. My Lady gets back her smiles now, and ere long she findeth somewhat more to think of than dead loves, in two little black eyes that stare at her, while a red mouth babbles.
This not at Jamestown, but at Master Rolfe his plantation, called Farmingdell, not far from the City of Henricus, on the upper waters of the James River. Now a word, ere I pass to other matters, of this famous city of Henricus at Varina, — so named after his Highness the noble Prince Henry, who ere long dieth, — whereof the founder was Sir Thomas Dale, the High Marshal of Virginia. Though this true relation of my Lady Pokahontas be writ for that great dame’s honour, and most I would speak of her, yet somewhat too of things in the first Virginia days; which in years to come may be read by Virginia people with some little interest (perchance).
For when my Lord la Ware sends out his Lieutenant Governor, Sir Thomas Gates, in the year 1611, the High Marshal his hands are free, and with some three hundred men he goes up James River and founds this City of Henricus at Varina. Arrohattox is the name of the country
Faith there. there, being one of the five domains which descended to the Emperor Powhatan from his ancestors; and never saw you so strange a sight as the river is there. It runneth this way and that, most like a great snake wriggling as he dieth; and where the city was built is in a peninsula, where the river maketh a great loop; so that, after some seven miles, it cometh back to one hundred yards of the same place. This narrow neck is a defence against Indians, and is called the “Dutch Gap,” — for by order of Sir Thomas his Dutch people begin to dig a channel there to let the river through, but stop the work.
Now the city is soon built on the plateau inside, with three streets, a fair church, and a palisade across the narrow neck; also one two miles long from river to river outside in the main.* On the south bank is another palisade, which incloseth a great tract, and Forts Charity and Patience, Hope-in-Faith and Mount Milado; also Rock Hall, Master Whitaker’s parsonage. And now if you ask me why Hope-in-Faith, which be a Puritan name, I answer ’t was I that named it, and Sir Thomas Dale saith: —143
I am to be
welcome.“Content! Thou shalt call it such, Master Anas! Thou wert once a conspirator and nigh I would bore thy tongue, but thou art a true man now, Heaven be thanked!
But to tell of my Lady, and how I came to live with her here. Whenas Master Rolfe would go from Jamestown to this plantation called Farmingdell, near Henricus, he saith to me, looking grave and friendly: —
“Hast thou not promised some one something, Master Todkill?”
“Doubtless men promise many things, Master Rolfe,” I say, making show I understand not.
“What thou hast promised, good Anas, is to live with my Lady,” he says; “and now as a worthy man thou must keep it. If thou come to my home thou shalt be welcome as my Lady’s old and true friend, and perchance thou might write somewhat for me, since Sir Thomas would have me for Secretary of the Colony.
This pleases me much; but I would not say yes, all of a sudden, lest my grum looks at this happy couple (thinking of Smith) make me unwelcome. But a voice comes behind me while I ponder so: —144
I go to
dell“Thou didst promise me!”
And I turn quick and see my Lady, one foot lifted and her face wet as she looks at me.
“Thou didst say thou wouldst!” she murmurs.
And there that ends. I go to Farmingdell, and made much of there, and have a good room which my Lady would still tend with her own hands, making all things neat when the maid had gone. The house is a good house, with a palisade against Indians, and Master Rolfe hath rich low grounds where he showeth me he can raise the wild weed tobacco; for he hath done so.† I talk with him thereon and cry: —
“Fie! wouldst thou? Why plant this foul weed that leadeth only to imbecility?” But he laughs and says, It is a comfort to man, and not forbid by Holy Writ; he himself hath come to love it, and smokes his pipe while he thinks.
Now to speak no more of tobacco, whereof his Majesty King James hath just writ his “Counterblast,” somewhat happens
child. at this house of Farmingdell which happeneth oft elsewhere. My Lady keepeth her chamber a little while, and then cometh forth with a young Master Rolfe, whom she holdeth up to me, and saith with bright eyes: —
“Saw you ever such a wanton, Anas!”
Thereat she putteth the boy in my arms and saith to him: —
“Go to thy best friend, child, who is the best friend of thy mother!”
And the child hugs to me and lays is face against my beard and is content there; whereupon I begin to love him, and love him more and more as the days pass.
I would have him named John Smith — this Smith being (so to say) a friend of the family in old years; but I say not this to any one, much more to my Lady, for fear her tears comes. And they say he shall be named Thomas.‡
The christening of Master Thomas Rolfe was a great merrymaking at Varina, and
of Virginia. hugely delighted Sir Thomas, who had his home there, as also Master Whitaker, as the first-fruits of heathennesse, and the promise of the New Jerusalem. For this Marshal Dale was a student of divinity, which be rare, as I said, in a martial man. He and good Master Whitaker, parson of Rock Hall parish, who is called in England the “Apostle of Virginia,” are close friends, as is fit. For this Master Whitaker is a true man, who hath left his warm nest at home to come to the new land; where soon he writes his “Good News from Virginia,” wherein he crieth, “Awake, you true Englishmen! remember the Plantation is God’s and the reward your country’s!”§
Sorrowful am I to say that ere two twelvemonths have passed, this good Apostle of Virginia, who saith he will stay “till he be called hence,” is called hence by God; he being drowned by the upsetting of his boat, in crossing the James River from Rock Hall to Henricus.
As yet he laboureth and catechiseth the children, Indian and others, in the new school of Henricus; certain axe-men and men-at-arms, too, that would hear the
the child. blessed message. He is ever at Sir Thomas Dale his house, and they dispute on divinity; but sudden all stops when Pokahontas her child is to be christened.
It is done in Varina church, and Master Whitaker, who hath married my Lady, now takes in his arms her child, and sprinkleth water on him, whereat he laughs and babbles; and then we go out, while My Lady holds him, and kisses him, looking at him with mother’s eyes that would eat him; for in sooth she loveth him dearly. So back to the Farmingdell house, and my Lady looks happy and content; and I must fain hold the boy, and say to him, as he nestleth to me: —
“Thou little Divell that art now a Christian! I wish thee well!”
Now my Lady stayeth but this time (yet) in Virginia, and I continue her henchman; and we talk together much, oft of him who is gone. At such time she looketh at me with sad eyes, and then to her husband, as though to say, “Do not thou think ill of me if I love still a dead one I once loved.” Sure never was more gracious creature than this Lady Pokahontas; and to be beside her was my chiefest happiness. But to write more hereof would weary; and
Caliban. with somewhat more (not much) of what takes place in this land of Virginia, we will go back home to England.
But first of what maketh me laugh much, how I see again the Emperor Powhatan and on what business we went. Since her wedding Master Rolfe, he and my Lady see each the other no more — why, I know not. He would have it so, and sendeth her word (they say) she must now live with him she weddeth, and not come back to the woods: if he ever visiteth the English (which he will not), he will be to see her.
But they have commerce and good will,¶ and to and fro cometh the Emperor’s henchman, a deformed humpback they call Rawhunt, bringing venison and what not, with the King’s love to his child. She sendeth back what will please him, as beads and such stuff; and writeth something on willow bark in strange figures, what I know not.
Scarce I think to see the great Emperor more, but that time now cometh, whereof I will speak. But first, this Rawhunt is Caliban in Master Shakespeare his “Tempest,”
Miranda. as I after know. From the first he hath come to Jamestown, to and back, and they that go to England report of him, as
* The main land.
† This accords with the statement in Hamor’s True Discourse, that Rolfe first domesticated this plant, hitherto wild, in the year 1612, which was just before Todkill’s coming. “Farmingdell” was just below Varina; and the region was so called by Sir Thomas Dale from the fact that the tobacco raised there was so fine as to resemble the sweet-scented Spanish Verinas of the West Indies.
† The birthplace of Thomas Rolfe, the only child of Pokahontas, has heretofore been a disputed question. The only record elsewhere is in the General History, where it is said: “During this time the Lady Rebecca, alias Pokahontas, daughter of Powhatan, by the diligent care of Master Iohn Rolfe, her husband, and his friends, was well instructed in Christianity; she had also by him a child, which she loved most dearly.” Thomas Rolfe was thus a Virginian by birth, and persons of note descended from him, — among others, John Randolph of Roanoke.
§ This pamphlet, containing an earnest appeal for help to convert the Indians, was published in the very year Todkill’s relation has now reached — 1613.
¶ This is also the statement of the old historian Stith, writing in the next century.